The Social Dynamics of Self-Esteem: Theory to Therapy

By R. A. Steffenhagen; Jeff D. Burns | Go to book overview

1
Self-Esteem Psychology

As a result of the technological revolution of the twentieth century, modern-day psychology has become increasingly mechanistically oriented. In its origin psychology was part of the broad field of study known as philosophy, which encompassed all the various individual sciences of today. The beginning of modern-day psychology can be traced to the work of Aristotle and of Socrates. Ever since the establishment of Wilhelm Wundt's psychological laboratory in Leipzig, Germany, in 1879, psychology has reflected the scientific trend in philosophical thought. While science has advanced technology -- and the high standard of living in the Western world -- it has engendered an insensitivity to the inner essence of humanity's being, the true nature of self. The development of societal relationships has tried to keep pace with that of the machine, its technological counterpart. It is no wonder that people today suffer increasing alienation from themselves and from each other.

Philosophy, with its emphasis on purpose, being, and thinking, has also gone the route of the sciences; the philosophy of science has come to dominate philosophizing. It has been suggested that modern-day philosophers are little more than teachers of philosophy and are not really concerned with higher transcendental values. Life is a dialectic. The natural laws governing its continuity are made up of opposite forces in dynamic equilibrium. Thus, while modern-day science has produced the highest standard of living in history (materialism), it has also given birth to its own negative counterparts through lack of purpose.

Psychology in America is rooted in the humanistic tradition, growing from the work of the father of modern-day psychology, William James. The experimental approach of Wundt in the late nineteenth century, however,

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The Social Dynamics of Self-Esteem: Theory to Therapy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Tables and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1 - Self-Esteem Psychology 1
  • 2 - Toward a Definition of Self-Esteem 19
  • Notes 51
  • 3 - The Self-Esteem Theory of Deviance 53
  • Notes 92
  • 4 - The Compensatory Mechanism 95
  • 5 - Self-Esteem in Modern Society 119
  • Notes 155
  • 6 - The Nature of Conflict in the Development of Personality 157
  • Notes 181
  • 7 - The Conflict Theory of Personality 183
  • Appendix A - Self-Esteem Inventory 215
  • Appendix B - Mapping Strategies for the Inventory 221
  • Appendix C - Reliability of SEI 223
  • Bibliography 227
  • Index 235
  • About the Authors 244
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